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CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Pledges $2M to Community Organizations for Coronavirus Response and Relief

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Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C., March 23, 2020 — Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) announced it will contribute $2 million to community nonprofit organizations working to provide relief for communities’ health, social and economic needs that may arise during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This philanthropic contribution is part of CareFirst’s rapid response to urgently address the ongoing complexities people and communities continue to face as a result of COVID-19.

In a collaborative effort, CareFirst engaged more than 60 organizations in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia to understand the most critical needs arising from COVID-19. During the engagement process, CareFirst enlisted insight from representatives of Federally Qualified Health Centers, hospitals, direct service organizations, community and private foundations, corporate funders, and more. Through conversations with organizations, CareFirst has identified health, social and economic needs as funding priorities.

CareFirst funds will help address complex and emerging health needs to close gaps in medical care access, minimize food insecurity and support the needs of economically vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted during the COVID-19 health crisis. Additionally, CareFirst contributions will help seniors quarantine in place by providing pharmacy and medication assistance, transportation and medically tailored meals. Investments will include, but are not limited to:

  • Baltimore Community Foundation;
  • Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore;
  • Community Foundation for Northern Virginia;
  • County United Way of Cumberland, Md.; 
  • United Way of Central Maryland; and,
  • United Way of the National Capital Area.

“Now, more than ever, is the moment for empathy, urgency and corporate social responsibility. It is critical for organizations to join together and combine efforts during this time of uncertainty to help limit negative impacts to the people and communities we serve,” said CareFirst President and CEO, Brian D. Pieninck. “As a not-for-profit company, it has always been our commitment to serve not only our members, but individuals, families and communities throughout the region in pursuit of new pathways to improve health equity. We are honored to work with community organizations on the front lines to help ensure people’s short and long-term needs are met during this public health crisis.”

CareFirst funding will occur in two phases to provide ongoing relief to organizations during the outbreak and recovery phases. Funds will be available March – September 2020 through intermediary organizations such as, community foundations, and request for proposals (RFPs).  More information about RFP deadlines and guidelines will be communicated shortly on CareFirst’s community website.

CareFirst will continue to work to identify other barriers and solutions for coronavirus care for its members as this situation unfolds, and will continue to share information and updates on its website.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

In its 83rd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.3 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2019, CareFirst invested $43 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram

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Media Relations  CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield  1-800-914-6397  [email protected]  

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VisIC Technologies raises Series E to support growing EV market

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The new financing round will allow the emerging GaN power electronics supplier to deliver high performing GaN products to growing electric transportation industry segment

MediaTek to invest in VisIC’s series E

VisIC’s D3GaN technology developed for electrical vehicles systems will enlarge its offering using the last investment round

NESS ZIONA, Israel, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — VisIC Technologies Ltd., a global leader in gallium nitride (GaN) devices for automotive high-voltage applications, has successfully raised a Series E financing round with participation from  MediaTek, the world’s 4th largest global fabless semiconductor company. This round of financing will help the company to enlarge its portfolio for Electrical Vehicles high power systems.  

"This round of financing will help us to enlarge our portfolio and continue to develop a solid manufacturing foundation for existing products" said Dr. Tamara Baksht,  VisIC CEO. "We are very happy to see MediaTek as part of VisIC investors. As a great innovative fabless company, MediaTek is a constant source of inspiration for us to work harder and to deliver new technological solutions to make meaningful changes in industry and life. We have a lot to learn from MediaTek how to grow innovation and make a difference in the mutual Automotive market", added Dr. Tamara Baksht.

MediaTek, which its dedication to innovation and has positioned itself as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions, and a broad range of advanced multimedia products, invested in VisIC and will contribute from its experience to accelerate VisIC’s innovation and sales.

"VisIC has impressive innovation and development around GaN for high power electric vehicles that improves the efficiency and performance, from hybrid up to full electric applications. We believe this technology is key to improve electric vehicle performance and affordability," said Dr. Lawrence Loh,  Senior Vice President of MediaTek.

This press release and further information can be found at www.visic-tech.com

About VisIC Technologies Ltd.

VisIC Technologies is a world leader in GaN electronics for xEV applications, focused on high-power automotive solutions. Its efficient and scalable products are based on deep technological knowledge of gallium-nitride and decades of experience. VisIC is committed to providing a step function improvement in terms of size and cost of energy conversion systems and is dedicated to high-quality customer support at all development phases. VisIC offers high power transistor products based upon compound semiconductor Gallium Nitride (GaN) material aiming to provide products for cost-effective and high-performance automotive inverter systems.

About MediaTek Inc.

MediaTek Incorporated (TWSE: 2454) is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables 1.5 billion connected devices a year. We are a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for a mobile device, home entertainment, connectivity, and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions, and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables. MediaTek empowers and inspires people to expand their horizons and achieve their goals through smart technology, more easily and efficiently than ever before. We work with the brands you love to make great technology accessible to everyone, and it drives everything we do. Visit www.mediatek.com for more information.

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FICO Survey: Complexity and Cost of Validating Digital Banking Customers Top Pain Points for Lenders in the Philippines

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50 percent of Philippine banks say processes are still too manual

MANILA, Phillippines, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ —

Highlights:

  • The FICO Identity in Digital Banking Survey examines how banks in the Philippines are approaching the validation of a customer’s identity during origination
  • 50 percent of Philippine banks said the high level of manual handling was the key challenge when validating a customer’s identity
  • Forcing Filipino consumers to leave their chosen channel will lose a bank business.
  • Authentication strategies at Philippine banks are driven more by security than by regulation

FICO, a global analytics software firm, has released its Identity in Digital Banking Survey, which found that the complexity and cost of validating the identity of digital banking customers are the top pain points for banks in the Philippines.

Almost 50 percent of respondents surveyed nominated the ‘high level of manual processes to validate customer identities’ as their top challenge along with ‘consistent collection of supporting data/documents’ and the ‘need for physical validation of identity’. The ‘time taken to verify identity’ and the ‘cost of third-party verification services’ were nominated by more than 40 percent of respondents.

More information: https://www.fico.com/en/latest-thinking/ebook/malaysia-and-philippines-banking-survey-2020

"Identity challenges are intensifying with digital banking," said Subhashish Bose, FICO’s lead for fraud, security and compliance in Asia Pacific. "You can see from the survey that many Philippine banks still have issues with manual processing that slows down the process, introducing friction into digital applications," said Bose. "Indeed, a third of banks still force customers to go to a branch to open a personal bank account. However, lenders will need to shift toward identity verification that is seamlessly integrated into the digital application process and can be rapidly confirmed or risk losing business."

FICO’s previous consumer study found that a large percentage of Filipinos (45 to 67 percent, depending on the action required) said they should be able to complete all aspects of account opening online or on their phone. In fact, if all actions required to complete an account opening could not be accomplished in-session, only 41 percent of Filipino consumers said they would carry out the necessary offline actions as soon as possible. A further 13 percent said they would try a competitor while 5 percent said they would give up completely.

"Filipinos are comparing their banking experience not just to other lenders but to other digital businesses," said Bose. "The notion that banks can afford to ignore delivering the kind of instant gratification delivered by companies like Uber, Netflix, and Amazon just because they are selling financial products will disappear this decade."

Concerns about Authentication

Authentication strategies at Philippine banks are driven more by security than by regulation; concern over the sophistication (50 percent) or volume (29 percent) of attempts to breach access controls is much higher than in the other seven countries surveyed, where, on average, concern levels for sophistication are 43 percent, and volume 30 percent.

This can partly be explained by fewer and less onerous guidelines or legislation around authentication such as those in the US, Canada, and Europe. However, if criminals are successful it will be only a short time before Filipino regulators impose more rules around authentication.

"Another issue here is that many banks in the Philippines are not making separate fraud and authentication decisions," said Bose. "They are less concerned with user experience and therefore will ask a customer to authenticate again for a particular action which they consider high risk, even if they have already been identified in the same session."

Technology challenges are also impacting the ability of Philippine banks to authenticate customers. The survey revealed that banks feel the time taken for systems change is a problem (45 percent), as well as inflexibility around identity approaches (45 percent). This may be due to rapid innovations in authentication and the number of technologies deployed (biometric authentication, for example, is deployed in 93 percent of respondents).

"Philippine banks are often torn between the deployment of multiple point solutions that require integration and broader platforms that span authentication but don’t play well with third-party systems," said Bose. "New-breed platforms that allow innovation with AI and integrate more widely are now seen as the next step. A strategic consolidation is needed, and banks will have to determine which technologies are proving effective both internally and with customers to gain an edge over their competition." 

The survey showed that adoption of this strategic approach is already underway. While only 7 percent of banks say they currently have a common identity management platform or orchestration layer, 78 percent of banks say that they have ambitions to make the move within the next three years

FICO’s Identity in Digital Banking Survey was produced by Omdia via an online study with 172 banks in May 2020. Executives who had direct involvement in their institution’s approach to identity and authentication for digital banking channels were surveyed. The countries surveyed were: Canada, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, UK and the USA. 14 Philippine and 15 Malaysian bank respondents with a minimum of 500k customers were surveyed, and more than one-third of respondents had over 10 million customers.

About FICO
FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 195 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

Join the conversation on Twitter at @FICOnews_APAC.

FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the US and other countries     

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Merchantrade in Technology Partnership with Ant Group to Offer Inclusive Remittance Services to Consumers in Asia

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Malaysia’s largest Money Services Business (MSB) operator, Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd (Merchantrade) has entered into a partnership with Ant Group, the leader in the development of open platforms for technology-driven inclusive financial services.

Merchantrade to facilitate real-time remittances to Alipay users in China, with funds reaching bank accounts linked to their Alipay app.
Merchantrade to facilitate real-time remittances to Alipay users in China, with funds reaching bank accounts linked to their Alipay app.

The collaboration allows customers of Merchantrade in Malaysia and Singapore to facilitate real-time remittances to Alipay users in China, with funds reaching bank accounts linked to their Alipay app. Alipay is operated by Ant Group and currently serves more than one billion users. 

The service is now available at Merchantrade’s 81 branches and over 450 of its agent locations in Malaysia. It is also available on Merchantrade’s award-winning remittance mobile app, eRemit Malaysia and soon will be available on Merchantrade’s e-wallet, Merchantrade Money as well as at Merchantrade’s Singapore-based subsidiary, Kliq Pte Ltd, on its eRemit Singapore mobile app.

The partnership aims to bring more innovative and convenient financial services to Merchantrade’s customers in Malaysia and Singapore. It will also expand to allow Merchantrade customers to remit funds to persons in the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, through Ant Group’s partners in these markets.  

"As a leading MSB operator and international remittance hub provider, we continuously explore new ways to apply our technology and connect with partners to make financial services more inclusive, especially for the underserved globally, particularly in Asia, where we have a foothold in the remittance market through local partners," said Ramasamy, Founder and Managing Director of Merchantrade Asia. The company has built an ecosystem of relevant financial services through industry partnerships and collaborations and continue to welcome future partnership opportunities to enrich the lives of our customers.

For more information on Merchantrade, please visit https://mtradeasia.com/main/. For Partnership & Collaboration enquiries, please contact: [email protected]

About Merchantrade Asia

Merchantrade is Malaysia’s largest Money Services Business (MSB) operator and leading money transfer, e-money issuer, retail and wholesale foreign currency exchange service provider. Leveraging on its technology, omnichannel capabilities and global network reach, Merchantrade aims to provide consumers with easy access to a secure, reliable and fast channel for global currency exchange, money transfers, and digital payments.

Merchantrade has developed multiple award-winning digital products and has established a network of 81 branches and over 450 agent locations throughout Malaysia.

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